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Difference Between AS and AA degree

Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Good afternoon Nurse Beth,

I trust your weekend is going well. I'm taking my first courses at Florida State College in the fall. I'm very interested in becoming a registered nurse, particularly given what has transpired in recent months. My main question for now would be which degree do I need as a prerequisite to enter the nursing program? Is it an A.A or an A.S? There seems to be confusion on my part. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

Dear Confused,

You will be earning an Associate of Science (AS) degree, and not an Associate of Arts (AS) degree.

Both are offered by community colleges and are generally transferable to 4 yr colleges. With an AS degree, you must complete a certain number of units in the math/sciences. Nursing pre-requisites include Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, which are science classes, hence, the ASN degree.

Down the road, if you complete an ADN (associate degree nursing) program, the initials used are ADN, although technically you also hold an ASN degree.

When the time comes, strongly consider applying to a nursing program that provides a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The nursing profession is moving towards BSN as the preferred degree.

Hope this helps. Best of luck in your studies.

Nurse Beth

Pixie.RN, MSN, RN

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN. Has 13 years experience.

Some colleges also offer an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) nursing degree that also makes a graduate eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN. Just depends on the school.